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Science
THE LIVING WORLD
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PROGRAMME INFO
Sunday 06:35-07:00
The Living World is a gentle weekend natural history programme, presented by Lionel Kelleway, which aims to broadcast the best, most intimate encounters with British wildlife.
nhuradio@bbc.co.uk
LISTEN AGAINListen 25min
Listen to 11 December
PRESENTER
LIONEL KELLEWAY
Lionel Kelleway
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Sunday 11 December 2005
A Merveille du Jour moth
A Merveille du Jour moth,
(C) Mark Parsons 2005.

WOODLAND MOTHS

Armed with a large lamp, paint brush, head torch, several bottles of beer, treacle and brown sugar, Lionel Kelleway goes in search of woodland moths, in the first of a new series of The Living World.

Joining him on this unusual night safari in Hembury Woods in Devon are Richard Fox and Mark Parsons from Butterfly Conservation.

Their first task is to prepare the traps.  They begin with a special type of syrup which is to be painted on the bark of the woodland trees.

The tradition of using syrup as bait for luring for moths is known as "sugaring".  It's effective due the sweet pungent smell it produces.  There are many different recipes, some containing closely guarded secret ingredients!

Once the syrup is made, it is allowed to cool and then painted on to the trees. It's a good idea then to wait a couple of hours, until well after dusk, before checking the syrup stripes for moths.

While the syrup is cooling, the team set up some light traps.  When everything is in place, the three retreat to await the arrival of the night visitors.

The syrup proves to be a magnet for slugs, but sadly no moths are found on the trees! However, the light traps lure many moths, including the Merveille du Jour, a beautiful moth resembling a piece of lichen. There are also autumnal moths, like the November moth and various species of Carpet moth.

As the three men pour over the light traps, Lionel hears about the history of moth recording.  He's told why it's so important in helping to monitor their population changes and in understanding the moth's role in the ecology of the woodland.

Below are some of the moths found at Hembury Wood, Devon.

OS grid reference SX728681

Date: 26.10.2005 / List collated by Mark Parsons and Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation.

Ypsolopha ustella
Tachystola acroxantha
Diurnea lipsiella
Acleris ferrugana

Garden Carpet
(Xanthorhoe fluctuata)

Red-green Carpet
(Chloroclysta siterata)

Common Marbled Carpet
(Chloroclysta truncata)

Spruce Carpet
(Thera britannica)

November Moth agg.
(Epirrita spp.)

Large Yellow Underwing
(Noctua pronuba)

Merveille du Jour
(Dichonia aprilina)

Brindled Green
(Dryobotodes eremita)

Chestnut
(Conistra vaccinii)

Yellow-line Quaker
(Agrochola macilenta)

Flounced Chestnut
(Agrochola helvola)

Angleshades
(Phlogophora meticulosa)
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